Jabulani Primary School students now have a brand-new open-air reading room thanks to the generosity of Hunter Valley Grammar School in Australia. Every two years, volunteers from the school – a mixture of teachers and students – come to Zimbabwe and visit the school every day for a week, helping in various ways such as in the garden, the library, and teaching literacy to the students. Each time the school visits, in addition to the uniforms, stationery, and other generous donations that they bring with them, there is a project that they raise money for in the time preceding their trip. The open-air reading room was the project for 2019, and a continuation of the 2017 project which was the library building itself. Having recently visited Jabulani, the group was even able to assist with the completion of the reading room through putting in place the concrete seal between the floor and sides of the structure to ensure that the building is water tight.
With such a well-stocked and utilised library, there wasn’t enough space for a whole class to comfortably use the interior library space. The reading room is thus a welcome addition to the school, providing another space, sheltered from the hot sun, for students to read and learn. The students and teachers from Hunter Valley were also busy reorganising the library on their trip, ensuring that books were ordered and packed neatly.
When not used as a space for reading and additional learning, the room doubles as a covered place for students to eat their lunch. Due to low rainfall in this arid region, grass coverage is poor, and the ground is very dusty. This means that students, their uniforms, and their food can be compromised with dust and sand. Furthermore, it is crucial to have overhead cover as shelter from the sun, and as rainfall is sporadic and only occurs for three months a year, the open sides will keep it ventilated and cool in the hot months.
This year the group also visited Jabulani Village. They thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the community members and are excited about future projects and getting more involved with the community, in addition to the school. We are hugely grateful to Hunter Valley for their generosity and continued support and are looking forward to welcoming them back to Zimbabwe on their next trip.